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Common fitness myths and the truth behind them

The fitness industry is filled with people trying to sell this or that and the more you research the more confusing things can get.  I’d like to try to clear up a few things below:

Myth 1: More is better.

Truth: Adding resistance, reps or miles isn’t always the best way to get more out of your fitness program.  The quality of your reps might be the ticket to bigger and better results.  In other words, focus more on doing the exercise properly instead of more of it.  During your next weight training routine, try lift the weights in a slow and controlled manner through the entire range of motion with the best form possible.  If you need a reminder on the form, just ask [email protected] and you might see it featured on the next Facebook post.  When you do this, you will end up feeling the exact muscle(s) you are targeting and it may end up helping you see and feel a change in your body.

Myth 2: Warming up is not necessary.

Truth: Everyone has an opinion about this one. Sarge believes that warming up and stretching before and after your workout will help prevent injuries and alleviate muscle soreness. The scientific purpose of warming up is to increase blood flow to the muscles and lubricate the joints in preparation for the activity level.  Warm ups will also increase the blood flow to extremities, increases core body temperature and basically prepares the body for more intense activities.  Our early morning boot camp clients need that warm up to help them wake up and our evening campers need it in order to wake up their bodies from sitting at the desk (and sitting in traffic).  There is an easy way for you to test if warming up is important for you.  Here is a link to our suggested warm up exercises. Try a workout after doing these warm up exercises, then skip the warm up and do the same workout and see which one you felt the most.

Myth 3: Weight/resistance training will create bulky muscles.

Truth: Weight training is one of the best ways for someone to look leaner, more sculpted and toned. In order to get large bulky muscles, one has to train a certain way with weights.  It takes an incredible amount of weight and specific training make muscles grow larger.  A body builder type typically hits the weights 8-12 times per week. We at Sarge Fitness  encourage our clients to incorporate resistance training only three times a week. The purpose of resistance training is to help protect against and prevent injuries and tone muscles, making them stronger and more lean while also helping to prevent osteoporosis. The extra muscle also helps to burn excess body fat by increasing metabolism, even when you are resting!

Myth 4: If you exercise, you can eat whatever you want.

Truth: We have many clients (half) jokingly tell us that they exercise so that they can eat whatever they want and drink more wine.  However, I think they are more than half joking…

Unfortunately, I think, most of them are not joking. Think about it this way: a 150 pound person running a 10 minute mile for 30 minutes burns about 360 calories. 1 Piña Colada has 245 calories, 1 serving of nachos (6-8 nachos) is 345 calories.  You are what you eat; nothing can change that and you can not out exercise a bad diet.  If your goal is to lose weight, then you have to make sacrifices to achieve those goals.

Tracking your calories in and out is much easier nowadays with all the apps.  Check out this Sarge BLOG post for some helpful APPS.

Myth 5:  To reduce the fat on the back of your arms do a lot of triceps exercises.

Truth: Sorry, but there is no such thing as ‘spot reduction!’  which means, you can not reduce the amount of fat from one area of the body (without surgery).  Fat is distributed through out the entire body.  Men hold their fat in different areas than women do but either way, no one can reduce their fat in one area without reducing it all over.

Myth 6: Running is bad for your knees.

Truth: There are many factors that cause pain in the knees. The most common cause of knee pain is a muscle imbalance in the quadriceps. This imbalance causes the knee joint to be pulled in a direction in which it isn’t designed to be pulled. Running is the easiest activity to blame for this imbalance, but there are many factors that can contribute to knee pain including old worn-out running shoes, hard running surface, and bad form while running. All these causes are actually the fault of the client; they are not caused by running itself. If certain precautions are taken, your knee can get better if you listen to your body and to your trainer. In time, and with the right training, you can rid yourself of knee pain and continue to run into retirement!  Here is an awesome video about preventing knee pain.

Author Bio:

Tom Kalka is the President and CEO of Sergeant’s Fitness Concepts and has been providing exercise advice and guidance to his clients since 2003. Contact Tom today for more information about removing these and other fitness myths from your training program.